Two Different Kings – But The Same

In 2 Chronicles, we find two different descriptions of the same king.  Compare these accounts of Uzziah, king of Judah.

“Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem.  He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done.  He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.”   — 2 Chronicles 26:3-5

But later, toward the end of his reign, we read:

“But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.  Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in.  They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.”   Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.”  — 2 Chronicles 26:16-19

These two stories speak of a very different character, though they refer to the same person.  What is the difference between the two?  As I read it, it was his faithfulness to the Lord God.  When King Uzziah was faithful, God gave him success and blessed him.  But when his own pride took over as first-place in his life, taking the place of God, he was challenged by God’s priests, who told him that God’s honor would be removed.  This makes sense when we read it in regards to someone else.  But I wonder – has this changed in today’s modern world?  Do we believe that God still reserves special blessings for those who remain faithful to him?  I can say from personal experience that I still believe this to be true.


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